The U.S. women's national hockey team is staying in Tampa.
USA Hockey announced Friday that the team, starting in September, will move their headquarters and train at the Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel. The team will train there in preparation for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, playing a few exhibitions in the area. This news came on the same day USA Hockey announced the 23 players named to the 2017-18 national team at a NHL Network-televised press conference at Amalie Arena.
"To have this kind of spotlight on us, this is big for us," said Jay Feaster, the Lightning executive director for community hockey development. "The timing couldn't be better, just the girls to see, 'Wow, there's a women's national team and, wow, I can play."
There were around 40 youth girls hockey players on hand for today's event. Several asked questions to the press conference, then participated in a street hockey game with the national team players. Feaster said there will be tryouts in mid-May for a girls hockey program that is still in its infancy.
"It's really inspiring to me, and I'm sure with other girls too," said Madison Natter, 15, who plays on a travel team. I've always seen them playing and felt, I want to be like them. It's motivating."